Deaf people at the forum learn what mental health service should be for them

On December 21, the forum on mental health service was held at the Toyama Prefecture Center for the Deaf, located in Toyama City in a northwestern part of Japan. It was sponsored by a group, called the "Group for the medical services for the Deaf in the Toyama Prefecture."

The Deaf often have hard time to communicate with their hearing coworkers as well as with his hearing family at home and always feel isolated, which causes them uneasiness and the stress. It is true that medical institutions and clinics do not have a group of experts who are aware of the needs of the Deaf.

Some prefectures have offered the counseling service with the Deaf counselor. A disability group has employed the Deaf professional equipped with knowledge of clinical psychology. According to Funada, the leader of the hosting group, the Toyama Prefecture does neither.

On the other hand, it is not easy to tell the counselor who does not know sign language through interpreting or writing a note. Funada says, "It is necessary to have a professional who has the knowledge of the Deaf community and its culture and who also understands the psychological state of a Deaf client.

At the forum, about 50 Deaf persons attended and learnt the emotional ailment while enjoying the game and the quiz.

The lecturer was Dr. Kazuhiko Katakura, the director of a clinic in a suburb of Tokyo, is a hearing psychiatrist who is fluent in sign language. As a member of the "Network of the Health Care Practitioners Interested in the Medical Service for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing," he has worked to support the Deaf victims in the stricken area of the great earthquakes.

Dr. Katakura explained a mental medical treatment plainly. He called the audience, "Deaf persons easily feel isolated. The feeling of isolation causes the suicide and the sickness of mind. To prevent these, a bond with the persons in surrounding is more important than any doctor, which should be acted immediately."

Source: Mainichi Shimbun, Dec. 22, 2008
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